It looks like the US may be getting out of Syria after all. From Mark Perry at theamericanconservative.com:
Despite the storm and fury, the Syria withdrawal policy is unambiguous and going forward.
President Donald J. Trump speaks with reporters during a briefing with military leadership members Wednesday, December 26, 2018, at the Al-Asad Airbase in Iraq. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
Few other foreign policy decisions of this administration have sparked more criticism than Donald Trump’s announcement that he will remove U.S. troops from Syria. Even as he declared last night during his State of the Union address that “as a candidate for president, I loudly pledged a new approach…. Great nations do not fight endless wars,” he drew a tepid response from Congress. The planned applause line fell discernibly flat.
Perhaps that’s not a surprise, given that the withdrawal has been condemned by leaders from across the political spectrum—including from Trump’s own party. South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham called keeping troops in Syria “vital to our national security interests.” Senator Marco Rubio described the decision as “a major blunder.” Nebraskan Ben Sasse said that Iran, ISIS, and Hezbollah were “high-fiving” the move. Finally, last Thursday, Republican leader Mitch McConnell orchestrated a resolution condemning the withdrawal—which passed the Senate in a lopsided vote.
Graham, Rubio, Sasse, and McConnell have been joined in their condemnation by a host of establishment heavyweights. Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, called the withdrawal “a bad idea” that constituted a “strategic defeat” for the U.S. Neocon penitent and Washington Post columnist Max Boot said the decision was a betrayal of America’s Kurdish allies—comparing it to America’s serial betrayals of “the South Vietnamese in the 1970s, the Afghans in the 1990s, and the Iraqis after 2011.” A bevy of retired military types joined the chorus, including MSNBC regular General Barry McCaffrey and former Army vice chief of staff Jack Keane, not to mention former Marine General James Mattis, who announced his resignation as secretary of defense following the announcement.
The dead cannot be betrayed. Exiting a pointless war does no dishonor to those who died in it, and prevents their living comrades from being killed. From Maj. Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
Recent attacks on the U.S. military in Syria should not, in themselves, determine national strategy. Unfortunately, hawks in Washington will use American deaths to justify perpetual war.
I’m just old enough to remember a time – before 9/11 – when the death of a US soldier in combat was an exceptionally rare thing. Indeed, its hard not to look back fondly on those days of relative peace. Since then, nearly 7000 Americans – and perhaps half a million local civilians – have been killed in the wars for the Greater Middle East. Most of our fallen troopers, and all of the indigenous victims, are essentially nameless, faceless, forgotten. Sure, Americans “thank” their veterans, and display diligent adulation rituals at weekly sporting events, but most military casualties receive only a passing reference on the nightly news. War is the new normal after all, a standard fact of modern American life that’s far less interesting – and less lucrative – than reporting on the latest soap-opera-drama in the White House.
That’s why the detailed media attention on the latest bombing in Syria, which killed four Americans, is so notable. And strange. So why the sudden interest in individual troop deaths after 17+ years of aimless war? The answer, as is so often the case these days, is simple: Donald Trump. Last week’s fatal attack, and another attempted bombing this Monday, happened to occur on the heels of the president’s controversial announcement of a total troop withdrawal from Syria. Make no mistake: that’s the only reason these tragic deaths happen to matter to the mainstream media outlets and a slew of suddenly interested congressmen.
Before the families of the fallen were even notified, and prior to the release of the service-members’ names, a cacophony of voices flooded the big three TV news outlets to express concern and shamelessly use these deaths to attack the president. Their argument: ISIS attack us so now we have to stay put in Syria. Hawkish legislators – Dems and Republicans alike – claimed to know exactly what the latest attacks portend. Their conclusion, which is always their conclusion, was simple: more war, perpetual military intervention. It seems nearly every Beltway insider, media talking head, semi-retired general, and hawkish congressman immediately came to the same conclusion – that ISIS isn’t defeated and only prolonged U.S. military occupation can get the job done.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Government, History, Imperialism, Military, Politics, War
Tagged ISIS, Neocons, President Trump, Syria, Syrian withdrawal
Is Trump rekindling his dormant war on the Deep State? From Robert Bridge at strategic-culture.org:
The reason so many people continue to misread the actions of US President Donald Trump is because they tend to confuse him with the actions and behaviors of past US administrations, where indiscriminate death and destruction was America’s calling card around a shell-shocked planet. Although certainly erratic in his actions, Trump thus far has been predictable on one score: keeping the powers-that-be guessing.
Last week, Donald Trump, acting unilaterally and within full power as Commander-in-Chief, derailed the Deep State’s plans for yet another disastrous regime change operation, announcing the withdrawal of US troops from Syria.
In a video released via Twitter, the American leader announced that, “We have won against ISIS…and it’s time for our troops to come home.”
In the not-so-distant past, such an announcement would have been greeted with cheers since it is generally agreed that war is – at least for those doing the grunt work – a very unpleasant enterprise. But the times have changed, together with the national agenda, and instead of applause filling the airwaves, the American people can hear nothing but the screeching of incensed hawks on both sides of the political aisle. That screeching is the sound of the Deep State expressing its deep displeasure and even pain.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Government, History, Imperialism, Media, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Deep State, President Trump, Syrian withdrawal
It’s about time (see Prime Deceit). From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
update 2: A troop withdrawal appears already underway after a Pentagon official said it would happen “quickly”.
White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders has issued a formal statement on troop withdrawal from Syria: “We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign.”
Moments after President Trump confirmed reports of US pullout via Twitter saying “We have defeated ISIS in Syria,” Pentagon officials said the president “ordered full US troop withdrawal from Syria,” and that this will be “rapid” — apparently already beginning, per a Reuters breaking report: “All U.S. State Department personnel are being evacuated from Syria within 24 hours – official.”